Perdido Street Station is one of China Miéville's oldies but goodies. Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist working along the fringes of the law onPerdido Street Station is one of China Miéville's oldies but goodies. Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist working along the fringes of the law on his pet project Crisis Theory--an area that many of his fellow scientists don't believe is anything more than make-believe. And his lover is Lin--one of the insect-like Khepri race--whom he sees only in secret for fear of racist, negative backlash from the scientific community. When a mangle-winged Garuda (of the desert bird race), shows up at Isaac's doorstep and asks him to use his scientific expertise to restore his ability to fly, Isaac's work is kicked into high gear. But during his researches, he unknowingly comes into possession of a dangerous creature that, when hatched, will wreak havoc on New Crobuzon, threatening not only the lives of Isaac's friends but the well-being of every race of creature in the city.
This is my second attempt to read a China Miéville novel. My first attempt was Un Lun Dun, of which I only made it through the first several chapters. This time around, with Perdido, I was much more successful. But I came prepared: audio book!! My main qualm with Miéville is his obsession with setting (and why the audio book version came in so handy). At the beginning of nearly every change of scene or point-of-view character, he describes the new setting for what seems like pages and pages. Listening in audio allowed me to space out during these long-winded moments and bring my attention back to the story when something was actually happening.
Besides the problem of setting, I found Perdido highly satisfying on a number of fronts. While I wouldn't say I had a very strong emotional connection with any of the characters, they were all very interesting, well-motivated, and sympathetic when they were supposed to be. The world-building was great--awesomely creative and complex. And the plot was fantabulous. I particularly enjoyed the middle of the book, when all hell essentially broke loose, and the complex plot threads that Miéville had been weaving suddenly pulled tight, right around the main character's neck. Very exciting! And the story hardly let up after that. Miéville held me absolutely enthralled for half this hefty tomb.
The few things, story wise, that I have the most eensy-weensy nitpicks for are 1) that I feel like the government point of views dropped away very suddenly, and I found myself still wanting to know what they were up to for the rest of the book. And 2) Isaac's sudden (view spoiler)[wariness of the Construct Council felt like it came out of nowhere. Almost like I accidentally skipped ahead in the audio book. They had just been in a battle with the Slake Moths, were tired and beat up, had lost comrades, and then all of a sudden he's just railing about the Constructs. I wasn't too surprised by the idea that the Constructs were up to things (that seemed obvious). But Isaac's sudden outburst made me feel like I missed something. (hide spoiler)] I also have to mention that this book is very brutal and graphically violent at times. I wasn't such a big fan of that. Also, I really really wanted to know even a little bit about what happened with the Construct Council. And what happened to David??["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
To my understanding, Off to Be the Wizard is a sort of expansion or spin-off of Scott Meyer's Basic Instructions web comic. I have never read the comiTo my understanding, Off to Be the Wizard is a sort of expansion or spin-off of Scott Meyer's Basic Instructions web comic. I have never read the comic so have a viewpoint completely unswayed by nostalgia or other influences.
This first novel by Meyer tells the story of Martin Banks, a disenchanted young programmer/hacker who makes the discovery that existence is really just a computer program. And he has read/write access to the files. It doesn't take Martin long to overextend his new-found powers and get into trouble. He narrowly escapes with a backup plan of going to Medieval England to become a "wizard". Low and behold, he is not the only one to have this grand idea.
Standing on its own, the book was just okay. The prose were okay. The character development was okay. I liked the premise and the nerd factor. But the plot, honestly, was a bit of a slog. I didn't care enough. Not about the characters. Not about the situation. There wasn't quite enough at stake. Plus, I was often forgetting who was who between Martin and his fellow wizard Philip. They didn't have different enough personalities or mannerisms to tell them apart except through dialogue context.
Love love love this graphic novel! Love the art, love the characters, love the writing.
Volume 3 has renegade new parents Marko and Alana visiting D.Love love love this graphic novel! Love the art, love the characters, love the writing.
Volume 3 has renegade new parents Marko and Alana visiting D. Oswald Heist, the author whose work first compelled Alana to turn away from the generations-old war between her people and Marko's. Meanwhile, the bounty hunter The Will and Marko's ex-fiance Gwendolyn are stranded on a seemingly-peaceful jungle planet until their ship can be fixed. The Will struggles with what course of action to take next as tension between him and Gwendolyn heats up, and he has a visit from the ghost of his creepy ex-girlfriend The Stalk....more
I have to agree with many of the reviews that I've read that this second installment in the Fifty Shades of Alice Trilogy is not nearly as good as theI have to agree with many of the reviews that I've read that this second installment in the Fifty Shades of Alice Trilogy is not nearly as good as the first. However, DuChamps follows in the same vein as the first with moral lessons folded nicely within the naughtiness and sexiness of the tale. Fifty Shades of Alice Through the Looking Glass follows Alice's misadventure into Looking Glass Land, ruled by an overbearing Red Queen who has commanded that her constituents may only have sex in the missionary position. But her subjects hardly pay heed to this prudish law, as Alice soon discovers. And she must open her own mind and views on what it means to be tolerant as she gets a taste for the many peculiar fetishes and preferences of the folks of Looking Glass Land.
The writing was good, the angle (tolerance) was good. The only thing that this book lacked is that all the scenes read like DuChamps had already written a million sex scenes before this and dear God, please don't make me write another one...! I also think that Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There was not all that great a book to begin with, so I'm sure it's challenging to make such a spin-off rise above the quality of the original....more
March of the Wooden Soldiers introduces readers to the tale of Boy Blue's lost love Red Riding Hood, and the fall of the last hold and gateway in theMarch of the Wooden Soldiers introduces readers to the tale of Boy Blue's lost love Red Riding Hood, and the fall of the last hold and gateway in the Fable Homelands. Then Fabletown is surprised by the miraculous return of Red Riding Hood through a gateway previously sealed from the other side. Boy Blue and Bigby Wolf must contend with what the sudden appearance of this long-lost fable means, and Snow White must lead the Fables into war against unexpected Adversary troupes.
I've really come to enjoy how in every episode but the very first, Fabletown or some of its primary members are always in dire danger. No melodrama here. I really enjoy the whole idea of rebel Fables and Fables who have betrayed their own kind and sided with the Adversary. Perhaps what I liked best about this episode, though, was the very good setup with Boy Blue's involvement with Red Riding Hood and that final battle in the Homelands, and how this story opened up many new story questions to be addressed in future episodes (view spoiler)[(mainly that Pinocchio's father Geppetto is still alive and possibly a slave of the Adversary, but also is Red Riding Hood still alive and enslaved as well and will she come back into the story later?) (hide spoiler)]. Also, the battle between (view spoiler)[Baba Yaga and the gingerbread house witch (hide spoiler)] was bad-ass.["br"]>["br"]>...more
Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History is a fictional amalgamation of fantasy, mythology, and history couched as a non-fiction history about these twDragons and Unicorns: A Natural History is a fictional amalgamation of fantasy, mythology, and history couched as a non-fiction history about these two mythical creatures who, in this book, are not mythical at all but merely--possibly--now extinct or very rare.
I bought this book nearly two decades ago, knowing nothing about it but drawn to it in the bookstore because of my love of unicorns. It has taken me that long to actually, finally sit down and read it. (Motivated more by the idea of reselling some of my books, to clear space, rather than a desperate need to read about the topic at hand.) And once I really put in a concerted effort to read this book, I realized why it had taken me so long to get around to it. Despite the great topic and fun premise, this book is insanely dry and dull to read. And that's why I must have picked it up half a dozen times before and immediately set it back down again. I persevered this time, but not to much end. I found it interesting how the authors took history and mythology and made it into a fictional alternate history. But the presentation was extremely lack-luster. ...more
I have owned this book for years but never got around to reading it until now. Lady Cottington's Pressed Flower Book is a fictional diary of a young gI have owned this book for years but never got around to reading it until now. Lady Cottington's Pressed Flower Book is a fictional diary of a young girl growing into adulthood, only there's something a bit unique about this diary. Meant originally to press flowers, the journal is instead used by the little girl to squash unsuspecting faeries that she finds around the grounds of the Cottington estate. Only, no one believes her when she tells her parents and their servants about the faeries. She learns to keep quiet about them as she continues to take delight in their gruesome execution. As she grows into adulthood, though, the faeries begin to take a very unexpected revenge.
All the time that I've owned this book, I always thought it was for children. I was quite surprised to discover, then, that there are actually mildly naughty bits hidden in the pages of this book! So, definitely turned into a more interesting read than I expected.
However, I have to mention that the smallness of the font (both the type and hand-written parts) is very prohibitive to comfortable reading. I had good lighting and proper eye wear and still found myself wishing for a magnifying glass. Some of the hand-written diary entries that were written over the squished remnants of the faeries (the illustrations) were also very hard to read....more